Book 2, Chapter 7 Notes from A Tale of Two Cities

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A Tale of Two Cities Book 2, Chapter 7

Monseigneur the Marquis, "one of the great Lords in power at the Court," is having his twice-monthly reception at a grand hotel in Paris. He sits down to take his chocolate, assisted by no fewer than four opulently dressed men. Monseigneur lives lavishly and spends excessively, despite the dire poverty of the rest of the country. He and his attendants and servants (and various other people who seem to have no real purpose other than to lounge around decoratively), pass their days idly, but are always impeccably dressed. Everyone in Monseigneur's grand living quarters, down to the common executioner, is extremely well-dressed, as if for a fancy ball. After the reception, Monseigneur leaves. On his way out, he stops in front of a mirror and declares to his reflection, "'I devote you to the Devil!'" Book 2, Chapter 7, pg. 105 He proceeds to the courtyard, gets into his carriage, and drives away. His driver proceeds through the streets recklessly, with little regard for the commoners who might be standing in the way of the grand carriage. After a time, Monseigneur hears a loud cry, and the horses rear and plunge. The driver jumps out of the carriage, and Monseigneur asks what is the matter. A man huddles over a small bundle, which turns out to be a child that the carriage had struck. The man shrieks, "Killed! Dead!" A crowd gathers around the sad scene, and Monseigneur eyes them all. He coldly declares, "'It is extraordinary to me that you people cannot take care of yourselves and your children. One or the other of you is forever in the way. How do I know what injury you have done to my horses? See!'" Book 2, Chapter 7, pg. 107

Topic Tracking: Oppression/Class Struggle 3

He takes a gold coin out of his purse and indifferently flicks it to the valet, ordering him to give it to the grieving man. Monsieur Defarge joins the crowd, telling the grieving man, "'I know it all, I know it all. Be a brave man, my Gaspard! It is better for the poor plaything to die so, than to live. It has died in a moment without pain. Could it have lived an hour as happily?'" Book 2, Chapter 7, pg. 107 Monseigneur declares the man a philosopher and throws him another gold coin. Someone who he cannot see throws one of the coins back at him, and he demands to know who it is. He declares that they are all dogs and that he'd gladly run any of them over. The crowd watches in stunned silence. Madame Defarge, who is observing the scene with her ever-present knitting, fixes him with an icy stare. He proceeds on, and Madame Defarge continues her knitting, "with the steadfastness of Fate."

Topic Tracking: Fate 3

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